Union Pacific Offers Ocean Carriers Weekend Incentives at Long Beach

railroad offers weekend incentive to move containers from California ports
(Union Pacific)

Published Oct 27, 2021 12:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

In the latest effort to speed the movement of containers through the Southern California ports, Union Pacific Railroad is implementing a pilot program to incentivize ocean carriers to take advantage of expanded access to its near-port intermodal container transfer facility in Long Beach, California. The railroad, which is a primary carrier from the Southern California area to 23 states across the western United States, said the incentives are the latest in a series of actions to alleviate supply chain congestion.

To encourage weekend in-gates and reduce the backlog at the ports, Union Pacific is offering a $60 per container refund to ocean carriers for each container in-gated on Saturdays and Sundays at its intermodal facility in Long Beach. The refund applies to containers in-gated incremental to each customer’s current 2021 weekend average. The pilot program will run through the end of the year.

Union Pacific’s incentives come as the port of Long Beach and Los Angeles both announced they would begin fining carriers if containers are sitting too long at the terminals. Starting November 1, the ports will charge ocean carriers $100 per container per day for cargo remaining beyond three days or more, if the is scheduled to move by rail. Containers scheduled to move by truck incur charges for dwell times of nine days or more.

Union Pacific noted in its announcement that the railroad is just one piece of the supply chain, situated in the middle between ocean carriers, distribution centers, and drayage drivers who control the critical “first and last miles.” The railroad said that although the middle miles remain fluid, Union Pacific believes it has a responsibility as a leading transportation company to support and facilitate fluidity at all levels of the supply chain.

“This refund is another example of Union Pacific’s continued efforts to work proactively with key stakeholders in the transportation industry and its customers, finding creative solutions to ease supply chain congestion,” the statement says. 

Among the other steps that it has taken Union Pacific recently increased gate access to 24/7 at its Long Beach terminal, adding 20 weekend hours, providing customers additional opportunities to move freight in and out. The move supports the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach’s recent move to 24/7 operations.

Other steps Union Pacific has taken include the reopening of its Global III terminal outside Chicago and its Englewood terminal in Houston, providing additional inland storage capacity. Union Pacific has also shuttled freight to less stressed terminals within the same metroplex to maximize freight availability for its customers.